Animals – dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses – are taken in by animal shelters and rescues every day. Often times they come from unfortunate situations. Sometimes they come from amazing homes and families but uncontrollable circumstances arise forcing the family to give the animal up. No matter what their history consists of – they are sure to find comfort and safety in the shelter or rescue. Animal shelters and rescues work hard to find forever homes for these animals. One of the keys to raising awareness and interest in the animals available for adoption is successful marketing.

Animal shelters and rescues utilize several marketing strategies to increase organization awareness and capture the attention of potential adopters. Common methods used by successful animal shelters and rescues include:

  • Adoption events
  • Online advertisements
  • Social media posts
  • Fundraisers
  • Open house events
  • Website page highlighting the animals

Getting potential adopters in the door (or on your website) is the first step in any of these techniques. How do you spark their interest? How do you make them fall in love and want to adopt one of your animals? The secret is writing a profile or bio about the animal they can’t ignore.

A bio they can’t refuse
You might not consider yourself a creative writer, but you need to. Utilize these five techniques to write create animal bios that work.

  1. Pull at their heart strings. Grabbing their attention starts with their hearts. In the first few sentences focus on those feelings. When you look at the animal – what do you see in their eyes or facial expression? Excitement, desire for a home, seriousness? Talk about that in your opening remarks. Use this example to guide you: “Roxy is looking for an energetic, fun-loving active family.” Or “Max needs a calm and peaceful home to spend his days relaxing.”
  2. Be honest. Honesty is vital. Make sure your description truly meets the needs of the animal and attracts the right family by telling them the truth.
  3. List the facts (even the negative ones). List facts about the animal – weight, color, and breed. Provide a history including where they came from, likes, needs, and dislikes.
  4. Include a call to action. Tell the potential adopter what steps to take next. Contact your animal shelter, talk to a volunteer, or fill out a volunteer application. They need to know what their next step is and are more likely to take action in the moment.
  5. Include a photo. Always include a photo of the animal – especially if you are listing the bio on the Internet. Pictures provide readers with a “face” and increase their desire to want to meet the animal in person.  Online posts with pictures are more likely to be read and shared by followers. The more individuals that see available animals – the better chance they have of being adopted.

Boost your marketing efforts with better animal bios and profiles. Make it impossible for potential adopters to say no by utilizing these five tips.

Leading or volunteering for an animal shelter or rescue is a rewarding experience. Animal welfare organizations rely on strong leadership, volunteers, donations, and adopting families to be successful. When one of these importance pieces doesn’t exist they struggle to meet goals and deliver their mission and vision. Many animal welfare organizations work diligently to place animals in their forever homes. Adoptions are strongest when shelters and rescues educate and communicate with the adopting families on a continuous basis – even after the adoption occurs.

Ways to Communicate
The most successful animal welfare organizations utilize these seven communication methods and techniques in their adoption process.

Capturing the attention of potential adopters is vital in your adoption success.

  • Announce new arrivals. Sometimes families visit your organization and don’t find the perfect fit for their family. Keep these families engaged after they leave by notifying them of new animals ready to adopt.
  • Utilize social media. Share pictures and stories about the animals in your care on social media. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are powerful tools shelters and rescues can use to reach a large audience.

Communication during the animal adoption process keeps adopters informed on what step they are at and what comes next.

  • Have a conversation. Don’t rely solely on the adoption application for everything you need to know about an individual who wants to adopt. Talk to them, ask questions, and get to know them. You will have a better understanding of why they want to adopt, what their daily life is like, and what their goals are as a pet parent. This information makes it easier to find a perfect match.
  • Provide updates. Keep them updated on the process by notifying them of any changes or setbacks.

Some animal shelters and rescues think the adoption process is complete once the animal is transferred – this is another important time for increased communication.

  • Follow up at seven days. Take time to call adopting families after the animal is in their care for a week. Start by thanking them for adopting. Ask them how the animal is transitioning. Do they have any concerns or questions? Take time to fully answer these questions and they will feel valued and supported by your organization.
  • Touch base at 30 days. Call or e-mail 30 days after the adoption takes place. This check-in is to make sure they don’t have any new concerns with the decision to adopt. It gives them a chance to share positive stories about their new family member.
  • Reach out after a year. Call or e-mail again a year after adoption. This is a great chance to make sure the match is still a good fit for both the family and the cat, dog, or other animal. It gives you a great opportunity to see if they are interested in growing their family with another animal adoption.

Successful implementation of these communication methods starts with your volunteers who work directly with the adopting families. Schedule a training session for your volunteers to attend. Review these methods and the benefits (increased number of successful adoptions) your animal shelter or rescue will experience.

Have volunteers actively role play different scenarios and conversations that arise. Provide them with a list of red flag comments to listen for and a positive response. High adoption rates are only positive when they are successful long-term adoptions. Implementing these methods decreases the number of failed adoptions and animals returning to your care at a later date.

Volunteers are one of the cornerstones to running your animal shelter or rescue successfully.  You rely on them to help with day to day needs, care for the animals, organize events, spread the word about your mission, and be passionate about the great work they are doing. Did you know they are one of your biggest risks?  Volunteers are human and unpredictable in their actions.  To successfully manage their actions and minimize risk, implement an official volunteer program.  Here are the categories your program requires:

Volunteer Handbook

Volunteer handbooks contain valuable information about the animal shelter or rescue.  They provide new volunteers with:

  1. Background information
  2. Mission and Vision
  3. Application process
  4. Training expectations
  5. Behavior expectations
  6. Volunteer waiver
  7. Organization policies

Require new volunteers to review the handbook prior to completing a volunteer application.  This information sets the precedence for expectations during their time volunteering for your organization.

Volunteer Waivers

Volunteer waivers are typically included as part of the handbook.  They are vital for animal shelters and rescues to have in place.  A strong waiver includes:

  1. Release of liability for injury and bites
  2. Acceptance that injuries are not covered under a worker’s compensation policy
  3. Acceptance of policies and procedures
  4. Emergency contact information
  5. Release to contact to provide medical help or attention if needed

Volunteer waivers are a safety precaution. Volunteers may still choose to file a lawsuit if they believe the animal shelter or rescue is responsible for an injury.  Waivers are part of your defense in court but should not be your only defense.  Work with your legal counsel to draft a waiver that best suits your animal shelter or rescue needs.

The Right Insurance

The best way to be proactive in protecting your animal shelter or rescue from financial loss as a result of a lawsuit is to purchase insurance.  There are many types of insurance you can purchase for your organization including:

  1. General Liability Insurance
  2. Professional Liability Insurance
  3. Accident & Health Insurance
  4. Director’s & Officer’s Insurance

Liability insurance protects your financial assets by paying defense and settlement costs of a covered lawsuit.   Take the time to research animal shelter insurance options today.  Purchasing insurance after a lawsuit is filed will not protect you.

Volunteer Training

Volunteer training is vital for new and existing volunteers.  Create a strong volunteer training program by answering these questions:

  1. What do you want the training to accomplish?
  2. What do your volunteers need to know?
  3. What do your volunteers already know?
  4. How do they learn best?

These answers will help you to create a valuable training program that is beneficial to both the volunteer and the organization.  Once training is completed, have your volunteers tell you what they learned and how they can implement this in their tasks.  Training is never complete and should be offered on a routine basis to volunteers.  The knowledge and education help make them valuable to your team.


Animal welfare organizations do a great deal of good for their local communities and the animals they help.  Directors of the organizations have a lot on their schedules with volunteer recruitment, volunteer training, fundraising, and the day to day operations that they often forget to look at their insurance protection plans to verify there is adequate coverage. There are many different types of insurance coverage that are beneficial and necessary in running businesses, but what about non profit organizations, like animal shelters or rescues? Some types of insurance include directors & officers liability, general liability, accident and health, and special event insurance.

General liability insurance is one of the most common types of insurance carried by nonprofit animal shelters.  General liability insurance may provide protection for shelters and rescues in some of the following scenarios:

1.    A visitor to your shelter falls on uneven pavement and injures themselves which results in medical bills.  The medical bills would be paid for by your liability insurance.

2.    A family interested in adopting a dog or cat this is located at a foster home, visits the home and their child falls down the steps injuring themselves.  Coverage under the foster home’s homeowner policy is typically excluded because the visitor was there on business.  A general liability policy would provide coverage for the bills associated with it.

3.    Your organization sets up at local events promoting adoption of your animals. While you are there, one of the dogs jumps up and knocks an individual over causing injury.  A general liability policy would provide coverage for the medical bills as well as defense costs and settlement costs in the event a lawsuit is filed.

By choosing to not carry general liability insurance, your animal shelter is at risk for being sued for any one of the above type events. If you have no insurance in these instances, the shelter or rescue could be forced to close its doors and all of the hard work you and your volunteers have invested will be gone.

There are many different types of insurance that would benefit an animal shelter or rescue. It is most important that the individual shopping for insurance is honest with the insurance agent about all the daily happenings, services, and events being provided and attended by the organization.  Your agent will be able to help guide you in determining what your best insurance options are for complete coverage.

Every animal shelter’s main goal is to connect animals with people to give a pet a loving “forever home.” Sometimes, obstacles get in the way of creating that connection. With a little ingenuity, shelter operators can make some simple changes that will result in more animal adoptions that will give pets a second chance in life.

Highlight a Few Animals at a Time

Walking into a shelter and seeing hundreds of animals at once can be daunting for prospective adopters. Too many choices can overwhelm people and make them reluctant to make any choice at all. By limiting the number of animals in view, adopters will feel like they have meaningfully interacted with the available pets, resulting in an increased chance of animal adoptions.

Put Less Adoptable Animals Closer to the Entrance

A lot of people come into the shelter with one goal – to adopt the cutest puppy or kitten they see. By giving higher visibility to adult animals, people may just find an animal that steals their heart. Additionally, some shelters are putting puppies and kittens in a separate area near the back of the shelter so that people have a chance to view all of the animals before seeing the babies.

Use Elevated Crates

Placing cats and smaller dogs in elevated viewing areas makes it easier for people to interact with them. Not having to bend or crouch makes the viewing experience more comfortable for a potential adopter and allows them more time make a connection with a particular animal. Also consider putting toys in crates to motivate the animals to be more active.

Groom and Accessorize

A well-groomed animal is more attractive to a prospective adopter than one that is less maintained. Adequate brushing is a low-maintenance step to keeping animals’ coats healthy and shiny. Adding bright-colored hair bows or bandanas is another way to up the cuteness factor and grab the attention of a would-be adopter.

Mix Different Breeds in the Same Crate

Pairing common breeds alongside more exotic breeds is an effective strategy in getting all animals noticed. Someone who is drawn to an English bulldog will also get a chance to interact with a black lab or dachshund, two breeds that are over-represented in shelters.

Hosting an adoption event properly is essential for helping the animals you love so much find loving homes. If you need tips on running an adoption event successfully here are some helpful tips to get you off to a good start.

Plan the Event Accordingly 

Before you can host an adoption event, you need to plan it out accordingly. You need to figure out what animals in the shelter you are hosting the adoption event for and where you want to hold the adoption even such as:

  • Inside a Shopping Mall
  • Empty Store Front
  • Busy Parking Lot
  • Pet Boutique
  • Pet Stores
  • At a Festival

You want to choose a place that has heavy traffic and allows you to host a pet adoption event without costing you fines or other hassles. You want the places you pick to be family oriented too.

Advertise the Event

Next, it is time to advertise the event. Make sure you send out emails, post flyers and ads in the newspapers and spread the word about the event to all friends and family members. Provide the date, time and address of where the event is being held. Consider posting flyers or posters in local hot spots of the animals from the shelter that will be at the adoption event so people can learn about the animals before going to the event and have a chance of falling in love with them. This will help increase the chances of animals from the shelter finding new loving homes.

Bring Adoption Forms to all Adoption Events 

If you are going to host an adoption event always have adoption forms and applications for potential new pet owners to fill out while they are at the event visiting with all the animals that need new homes. Once the event is over, you can take the time to go through the applications and look over potentially new pet owners that would provide the best home and care the animals in your shelter so rightfully deserve.

End Thoughts for Hosting Adoption Events 

With proper planning and preparation for an adoption, event success will occur and soon the animals in your shelter will be with loving families. Just make sure the families you are allowing to adopt the animals are loving people who truly do adore animals. Nothing is worse than adopting an animal out to someone who just wants a pet just because.

Kitten and puppy season is the time of year between early spring and early fall where overwhelming amounts of litters are brought to shelters. During this season, shelters struggle with keeping up with food supplies and pet care products. One of the best ways to prevent this from occurring is to be prepared. If you are wondering how you can help prepare your shelter for handling kitten and puppy season properly the ideas below should help.
1. Stock Up on Pet Food
Before kitten and puppy season starts, it is wise to stock up on pet food. If your shelter is struggling with having the financial means to do so, ask for kitten and puppy food donations from your local community. This way, when kitten and puppy season starts you will not run out of the foods necessary to nourish and help these furry pals grow up into healthy pet’s that could provide lots of love to the family that adopts them.
2. Stock Up on Pet Care Grooming Products
Most of the kittens and puppies that come during the kitten and puppy season are dirty and full of fleas and ticks. Due to these reasons, tons of pet shampoos and grooming products will be necessary to have on hand in order to help get the dirty ones clean. Other essential grooming products your shelter might need are grooming brushes, claw clippers and grooming sheers. Even flea and tick medication and collars are helpful to have on hand for those poor kittens and puppies that need a bit of help ridding the awful insects from their furry coats.
3. Stock Up on Extra Crates, Leashes and Pet Bedding
Stocking up on extra pet crates, carriers, and leashes and bedding before the season starts will ensure your shelter has enough room too safely and happen place the little furry pals until new homes are found for them. You will also need extra pet food and water dishes to go into those extra crates to ensure all kittens and puppies have the ability to access food and water when their little tummies are hungry and thirsty.
4. Stock Up on Extra Toys
During kitten and puppy season, extra toys will be necessary. All kitten and puppies staying at the shelter need to have plenty of fun things to play with to help keep the busy, well-exercised as well as healthy and strong.

Each year, kitten and puppy season occurs between early spring and early fall. These particular times of the year, litters of kitten and puppies are born due to pets and stray animals not being spayed or neutered. Unfortunately, shelters become overloaded with these tiny beings and struggle with feeding and providing care to them all, and those tiny furry friends that are left on the streets end up ill and dying due to infections feline and canine diseases as well as extreme hunger and thirst. The good news is there are ways you can reduce the amount of litters that occur during kitten and puppy season.
1. Important Reason to Spayed or Neuter Your Own Pets
Pets can escape from the hands of your care for whatever reason, which is normally not your fault. Animals get the need to be curious every now and again so they feel the need to take an adventure. During these adventures if your pets are not spayed or neuter, they can cause unnecessary pregnancies in stray animals on the streets, which adds to the unnecessary litters of kitten and puppy season. The best way to prevent unwanted litters during this season is by making sure your pets are spayed and neutered.
2. Importance of Donating to Help Kittens and Puppies Receive Spaying and Neutering
Some people and shelters cannot afford to spayed or neuter kittens and puppies due to a lack of financial means. The best ways to help with the spayed and neutering process is to donate financial means to help get these procedures done. If you run a traveling spayed and neuter clinic maybe, donate some of your time and means to help aid in the process of spaying and neutering.
3. Importance of Working with Animal Control to Care for Homeless or Feral Cats in Your Local Area
Caring for homeless and feral cats or pups in your local area by not only providing them with food, water and some sort of shelter, but by providing the financial means to sprayed and neuter these fuzzy friends you can reduce the amount of stray pets and litters on the streets and in shelters. Maybe even consider adopting some of these homeless cats and dogs so they have a home and are off the streets, which can help prevent unnecessary litters during kitten and puppy season.

What is Backyard Breeding?

February 15, 2015

It is common these days to see more and more backyard breeding. This type of breeding causes puppy mills to exist and the population of animals on the streets and in shelters to grow. Putting a stop against backyard breeding is the only way to control these unnecessary situations for animals.
What exactly is backyard breeding?
Backyard breeding is a term used to describe humans who breed animals without the legal license to do so. The reason it is done is to create animals, which can be sold off to earn and income, or to create an animal with a certain temperament for dog fighting purposes. However, when animals cannot be sold off they are released onto the streets or into the wild to make more room for the next rounds of backyard breeds.
What kinds of animals are used in backyard breeding?
Horses: All types of horse breeds are used in backyard breeding to create horses for slaughtering purposes. Backyard breeders that can turn out a lot of horse meat will sell it off in hopes of earning an extremely large sum of money for living purposes or continuing on with the breeding.
Dogs: Pitbulls are some of the most common dogs breed with other dogs by backyard breeders to create pups with temperaments that are easy to train for fighting purposes. However, other dog breeds are used in backyard breeding as well just to create puppies, which can easily be sold off in puppy mills or the side of the street simply to make an income.
Cats: All types of cats are used in backyard breeding to create kitten litters, which are sold off easily due to cuteness to earn some extra money. Most cats breed in backyards end up with all kinds of horrible health conditions and tend to be put onto the street if they cannot be sold off in time before the next breeding season begins.
Rabbits: All kinds of rabbits are breed often in backyards to produce tons of kit litters, which are sold off during the Easter holiday with ease, or for meat selling purposes.
End Notes for Backyard Breeding
All animals desire respect and kindness, which means backyard-breeding needs to stop. If you know of backyard breeding going on, report it immediately to animal patrol and prevent more animals from becoming homeless, abused and used for other purposes other than sharing love.


Valentine’s Day is a special holiday that celebrates love. This special day is not just for humans either. In fact, this holiday is for celebrating the love you have for your pets too. Spoiling them with new toys and tasty treats along with lots of tender care to celebrate love with them is necessary, but there are some safety tips you should keep in mind.
1) Avoids Treats that are Poisonous to Your Pets
Spoiling your pets with people food is not always best to do on Valentine’s Day to show your love and appreciation towards them. In fact, some human foods are poisonous to pets. For instances, chocolates are harmful to cats and dogs, the seeds of apples and pears are poisonous to rabbits along with mushrooms, avocados and cherries, people food can pollute fish tanks and birds should never be offered rhubarb, eggplant, onions or olives. Only feed your pet, pet foods.
2) Stay Away from Valentine’s Day Costumes
Dressing up your pet for Valentine’s Day may be cute, but costumes should never be forced onto your pet. Doing so could cause injury. Costumes with tiny buttons, love arrows and other gadgets sticking out of them should also be avoided. Oh, and that includes cherub wings. While you are pet may look cute in them, during playtime they can be caught in things and cause injury.
3) Always Put Chocolate Boxes Up and Away
If someone you love gives you a box of chocolates or some sort of candy that contains an artificial sweetener it is best to put your treats out of your pets reach. Not doing so could cause them to get curious and get into your treats causing poisoning in your pal. Be kind to your pets this Valentine’s Day and put your treats out of reach.
4) Flowers are a No, No
Flowers are lovely, but they should never be given to your pet to play with on Valentine’s Day. In fact, some could be poisonous to your pet while flowers such as rose have thorns that could cause possible harm or serious injury, which require immediate vet care.
5) Pets as Gifts
Giving a pet as a Valentine’s Day gift is a sweet gesture, but they should never be given to love ones who cannot take care of them properly. Remember, pets are beings too that need lots of tender love and care.